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A person applying cement plaster to a brick wall using a trowel

Overview

With the right tools, hard plastering brick walls is a relatively simple job. We'll show you how to mix and apply the plaster, how to screed the wall and make sure the plaster is evenly applied.

Steps

1Prepare the wall

Use a paint brush to remove any excess dust and dirt from the wall. Lightly brush the bricks with water, this helps the plaster to stick. Lay drop sheets in front of the wall.

A brick wall prepared for plastering with drop sheet below

2Make the plaster mix

Put on your dust mask, safety glasses and protective gloves. Pour water into your mixing bucket. Add three buckets of sand, half a bucket of cement, and half a bucket of lime. Use the mixer to combine all of the ingredients.

A person mixing cement plaster mix in a bucket using an electric mixer

3Scoop up the plaster

Put a corner of the hawk into the plaster mix and use the trowel to push the mix onto the hawk. Rest the trowel on the hawk, tilt the hawk back and scrape the plaster onto the trowel.
A person scraping plaster from a hawk onto a trowel

4Apply the plaster to the wall

When applying plaster to the wall, work from top to bottom and from right to left. Evenly spread the mortar across the wall. Use the brick lines as a guide, start at the bottom of a brick and spread the plaster upwards about two to three bricks. Continue applying the plaster until you've covered all of the wall.
A person applying cement plaster to a brick wall using a trowel

5Screed the wall

Once the plaster is touch dry, screed the wall. Do this by dragging the straight edge along the wall. Screeding takes any excess plaster off the wall to give it a nice flat finish. Start at one side of the wall and work your way across, keeping the straight edge level. Then work your way back across the wall.

A person screeding a plastered wall with a straight edge

6Check the plaster is level

Hold the spirit level vertically against the wall to check that the plaster is flat and plumb.  If there is too much plaster and the wall isn't flat, rub the spirit level into the plaster until it's level. Repeat this for the other side of the wall.

A newly plastered wall before screeding

7Screed the wall

Use the straight edge to screed the wall, back to the lines you created with the spirit level. After doing this, use the spirit level to check that it's plumb.

A person screeding a plastered wall with a straight edge

8Patch up the wall

After the last screed, there might be areas where the plaster is uneven or patchy. Use the trowel and hawk to apply plaster where it's needed.

A person running a trowel towards the corner of a plastered wall

9Screed the wall

After patching up the wall, run the straight edge across it, to make it level. This should be easier because the base layer of plaster will be drier.

A person screeding a plastered wall with a straight edge

10Cut the corners of the wall

Run the side of the trowel along the four edges of the wall – the left and right hand sides and at the top and bottom. This is to make sure the plaster is square to the wall, ceiling and floor. Use the trowel to scrape and clean up any plaster that has fallen on the floor. 
A person running a trowel down the corner of a plastered wall

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.